by George Nott

CIO 2016 #26-50: Andrew Mitchell, Griffith Hack

Nov 24, 2016
Technology Industry

Griffith Hack is an Australian law firm that specialises in intellectual property. Despite being experts in the field of technology and in prosecuting, enforcing and opposing patents and trade marks the company increasingly felt its clients “needed more”.

It’s response was Amplia – an online IP management platform which launched earlier this year.

“In the face of an increasingly commoditised and shrinking market, Amplia has enabled us to differentiate ourselves in the eyes of major corporate clients both in Australia and globally,” explains Griffith Hack’s chief information officer and director of national operations, Andrew Mitchell.

“This platform is a different way for our firm to engage as it embodies the client centric value of the business strategy.”

Amplia is a customisable online platform which allows clients to manage their engagement with Griffith Hack, providing a snapshot of the status of all cases with a priority task list and overview of what is being spent. Each feature on the dashboard allows customers to drill down to more granular information, with the support of trade mark attorneys for advisory services at each stage. For IP and law firms, the platform slows them to see what deadlines are coming up for their clients, viewable per applicant.

Champions of change

Achieving success required a new working approach from Mitchell’s IT team.

“IT recognised that to successfully meet the business challenge, we need to educate and manage the change process in the business,” he says.

A business champion was appointed and a business case outlined the threats and risks to the business and the opportunity for digital disruption.

“All stakeholders and boards only want to deal with facts. It’s important that they feel you have not just a grasp of the end goal but also how are you going to get there. This all helps build the trust and confidence in not just the CIO but the whole team,” says Mitchell.

“I presented to the board a competitive market comparison, new pricing model and profit analysis to determine the best course of action along with my recommendations. CIOs must understand clearly the business vision, objectives and where it is heading. That way we can help facilitate the direction and outcome.”

The platform is hosted in AWS and integrated with Griffith Hack’s back end office systems including financial management, case management, document management and email systems.

Innovations for all

Internally the firm has also fully automated the processing of all mail received from IP Australia which equates to more than 5,000 pieces of mail correspondence a month. It has also implemented CATCH a bespoke internal workflow platform that integrates four core systems (email, financial management, document management and case management) into a single portal for attorneys to action work and prioritise their day.

“We now have attorneys who never touched these systems to a self-service single portal that tells them what to do, by when and to whom,” Mitchell says.

Speaking about the role of the CIO, Mitchell adds that they now need to be not just technically competent but have “a solid knowledge of the business, be aware of the business and market landscape, be very commercially savvy and of course a solid leader to their team”.

“Our role is a juggling act and the challenges we face are forever changing,” he says. “We have to be adaptable, be ready to change at a moment’s notice and manage our time effectively. I think if your team is very clear on their expectations and where the business and you are heading then that certainly makes your life easier.”